Poem of the day

Horses Chawin’ Hay
by Hamlin Garland (1860-1940)

I tell yeh whut! The chankin’
      Which the tired horses makes
When you’ve slipped the harness off’m,
      An’ shoved the hay in flakes
From the hay-mow overhead,
      Is jest about the equal of any pi-anay;
They’s nothin’ soun’s s’ cumftabul
      As horsus chawin’ hay.

I love t’ hear ’em chankin’,
      Jest a-grindin’ slow and low,
With their snoots a-rootin’ clover
      Deep as their ol’ heads ’ll go.
It’s kind o’ sort o’ restin’
      To a feller’s bones, I say.
It soun’s s’ mighty cumftabul—
      The horsus chawin’ hay.

Gra-onk, gra-onk, gra-onk!
      In a stiddy kind o’ tone,
Not a tail a-waggin’ to ’um,
      N’r another sound ’r groan—
Fer the flies is gone a-snoozin’.
Then I loaf around an’ watch ’em
      In a sleepy kind o’ way,
F’r they soun’ so mighty cumftabul
      As they rewt and chaw their hay.

An’ it sets me thinkin’ sober
      Of the days of ’53,
When we pioneered the prairies—
      M’ wife an’ dad an’ me,
In a dummed ol’ prairie-schooner,
      In a rough-an’-tumble way,
Sleepin’ out at nights, to music
      Of the horsus chawin’ hay.

Or I’m thinkin’ of my comrades
      In the fall of ’63,
When I rode with ol’ Kilpatrick
      Through an’ through ol’ Tennessee.
I’m a-layin’ in m’ blanket
      With my head agin a stone,
Gazin’ upwards toward the North Star—
      Billy Sykes and Davy Sloan
      A-snorin’ in a buck-saw kind o’ way,
An’ me a-layin’, listenin’
      To the horsus chawin’ hay.

It strikes me turrible cur’ous
      That a little noise like that,
Can float a feller backwards
      Like the droppin’ of a hat;
An’ start his throat a-achin’,
      Make his eyes wink that a-way—
They ain’t no sound that gits me
      Like horsus chawin’ hay!

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